Sony hands make a new console

After winning the battle for the living room, Sony now wants your pockets. The electronics giant, whose PlayStation 2 games console has outsold rivals from Microsoft and Nintendo three-to-one, announced plans Tuesday for a handheld game player.

The PSP, announced during a press conference in advance of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) trade show, would compete to some extent with Nintendo's Game Boy, which has all but owned the portable game market for more than a decade.

But Sony obviously has grander plans than a nice game of Tetris. The PSP will have a screen capable of showing 3D images, stereo sound, USB 2.0 connectivity and a custom processor built on cutting-edge 90-nanometer chipmaking technology.

The device will also use a new media format. The UMD disc is an optical disc about half the size of a DVD or CD and capable of holding 1.8GB of data. Sony did not offer a projected price for the PSP, but said it plans to release it late next year, with Ken Kutaragi, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, promising it would be "the Walkman of the 21st century."

Sony also introduced a new accessory for the PS2, the I Toy. The USB camera will initially be used as a custom game controller, but Sony also expects it to support video conferencing, live special effects and a host of other uses.

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